Structural Integration (SI) is a type of bodywork that focuses on the connective tissue, or fascia, and alignment of the body. It is practised in an organized series of sessions or individual sessions within a framework that is designed to restore postural balance by aligning and integrating the body in gravity.
Originally trained as a biochemist, Dr. Ida Rolf was an avid student of yoga, osteopathy, and homeopathy. She began to apply their principles to her wellness routine. Later, she directed her focus on the effects of gravity on the fascial structure of the body and discovered how to manipulate it with the goal to restore proper function.
By the 1950s, she refined her theory and began to teach her work. In order to pass along her work to others and to make the education process accessible, she developed an expedient series of 10 sessions, which came to be known as the Ten Series.
In the 1970s, she asked Judith Aston to create a series of movements that would help maintain structural corrections over time. Aston went on to develop and build upon her own ideas and founded Aston-Patterning™, a movement re-education system.
Following Ida Rolf's death in 1979, a small group of individuals from the Rolf Institute left to form the Guild for Structural Integration in 1989. The differences in philosophy between the two schools results in a slightly different approach, although the main tenets, results of the work, and the 10-session schedule remain.
Dr. Rolf's work led her to be a pioneer and leader in soft tissue manipulation and movement education. Others influenced by Dr. Rolf's work continued to do research and/or developed their own methods/brands of Structural Integration.
Today there are many different schools of SI recognized by the International Association of Structural Integrators (IASI), a professional membership organization for SI.
Following an extensive initial intake interview, patient feedback and dialogue respective to the patient's treatment experience are an ongoing and important part of each session. Assessment often includes gait, posture, and functional movement analysis.
The treatment method focuses on fascial bodywork and may include movement re-education. Hands-on contact may use light or deep pressure as required and is applied along tension lines of fascia.
These interventions can also include passive and active movement of the patient. Specific movement education may also be incorporated at some point during the session.
Structural Integration can release areas of fascia to restore it to a more a "normal" state. The result can be shown as a more balanced structure, increased range of motion, and more efficient movement. In turn, once the fascial system is balanced and organized, results may include reduced stress, increased economy of movement, decreased fatigue, and reduced pain.
A level of training that includes every competency component needed to safely and appropriately apply the treatment.
An additional treatment that first requires the practitioners to be trained in an appropriate related discipline.